When It Comes to Selling, Girl Scout Markita Andrews Is a Real Cookie Monster
Although she is an obvious natural at sales, Markita recalls, "The first year I was shy and afraid I might mess up." Chaperoned by her aunt, the youngster, then 6, traveled door to door at the Lincoln Towers, a 3,900-unit apartment complex in Manhattan where she lives with her mother, Mary Lou. Markita racked up sales of $810 on 648 boxes. The next year, 1979, her door-to-door campaign ran into trouble when an old woman complained. Confined to selling in the lobby, Markita swooped down on customers as they came home from work or on Saturdays when the mailman arrived. Her tally was 1,148 boxes, and in 1980 it jumped to 2,100.
As word of Markita's success spread, Walt Disney Studios commissioned the Glyn Group to make an 11-minute sales training film about her. Entitled The Cookie Kid, it shows Markita's persistent but polite soft sell. The film has been used to motivate salespeople in more than 100 companies, including Xerox, IBM and Avon. How does Markita take to all the fanfare? "It's nice," she admits, "because you get to be important."
Markita, whose parents are separated, was born in Hollywood and moved to New York in 1977 with her mother, a waitress. She became a Brownie to make friends. Besides choosing her customers carefully (she stays clear of those in a hurry or in a bad mood), Markita knows all the selling points of the seven varieties of Girl Scout cookies (caramel-covered Samoas are her favorite) and how to close a deal. "You just can't chat," she advises, "you have to ask for an order." Most important, Markita says, "When you are tired, you can't quit. You have to keep trying."